MINDEN - Build it and they will come. Whether tourists, business owners or residents, they will come for a strip of dirt, a path of raked earth that encircles the entire valley.
"A great trail system can bring year-round economic benefits and fits in perfectly with efforts at Stateline to rebrand the casino corridor from a gaming destination to a resort destination," said Douglas County Economic Vitality Manager Lisa Granahan.
The county's Tremendous Trails team, one of 12 priorities in the economic vitality plan, and the Carson Valley Trails Association have taken an important step forward by naming the Carson Valley Discovery Trail. Although completion is years out, the 100-mile loop will serve as a bridge between the community and the mountains.
"What the vitality plan does in Tremendous Trails is capitalize on all this synergy, whether the Discovery Trail, the Genoa Foothill system, or the Tahoe Rim Trail in parts of Douglas County, to do a better job in connecting all of them, and working with the visitors authority to publicize them," Granahan said.
The county and trails association recently solicited public input for the naming process. Participating in a July workshop, facilitated by Carl Dahlen from UNR Cooperative Extension, were Melissa Shaw Granat, Jeremy Vlcan, Barb Wilson, Charles and Kerstin Wolle of CVTA; Lisa Granahan and Carlo Luri of the Tremendous Trails team; Jacques and Dominique Etchegoyhen, representing local Basque and ranching interests; Bill Chernock of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Authority; and Duane Petite of The Nature Conservancy.
Members of the workshop narrowed down a list of names to six choices: Carson Valley Discovery Trail, Carson Valley Loop, Carson Valley Trail, Carson Valley Trek, Carson Valley Vista Trail and Trail of the Valley.
Following the workshop, an online survey allowed the public to rank the names or offer alternative suggestions. Approximately 191 people completed the survey. "Carson Valley Discovery Trail" received the most votes.
"In the same way that Ashland, Ore., has become known for its Shakespeare Festival creating an economic boost much of the year, our trails in Douglas County and the Carson Valley can provide the draw in making us known for our spectacular natural environment," Granahan said. "Our trails are accessible almost year-round; they can draw visitors who will be staying in hotels, eating in restaurants, and shopping in our downtowns."
At the same time, Granahan said, a top-notch trail system serves existing residents and businesses looking to relocate.
"We're really trying to attract the outdoor industry to our area," she said. "This really has that quality-of-life appeal."
CVTA volunteers are in the process of building the Genoa Foothill Trail System, which will connect to the Tahoe Rim Trail. The latter already connects to the Pacific Crest Trail.
As progress is made on the Carson Valley Discovery Trail, information will be posted at www.carsonvalleytrails.org.